We have something a little different this week. Latina author, Donna Del Oro, has donated some of her time to do a book review AND an interview for us.
She has recently read The Heartbreak Pill by Anjanette Delgado.
Is it really necessary to suffer for love? What if an easy-to-swallow pill could turn love off and on? You wouldn't desire what isn't good for you. You wouldn't cry for what cannot be. You'd just live. You'd be happy.
Erika Luna is a thirty-something scientist living and working in Miami. When her husband of seven years -- the very successful, very smart, very good-looking founding partner of one of Miami's top public relations firms -- falls in lust with another woman, their marriage spirals toward divorce and Erika's practical nature leads her down a strange path.
What is a scientist to do when slapped with a pain so deep it interferes with her breathing? Develop a cure, of course. Erika moves into a new apartment and turns it into her own personal laboratory. She frantically begins mixing potions and uses herself as a guinea pig as she desperately tries to create a pill that will rid the world of heartbreak forever. As she navigates the murky waters of the recently divorced, Erika also struggles to find her own sense of self and the answer to whether love, and its pain, is worth the risk.
Reviewed by: Donna Del Oro
Review: THE HEARTBREAK PILL is a romantic comedy that won First Place in the Latino Books into Movies Awards contest; my novel, OPERATION FAMILIA, won Second Place in the same category, so I was curious to read the novel that won over mine. I wasn’t disappointed! From page one, my attention was riveted to Erika Luna’s story and I read the book in two days.
Erika Luna, a research chemist for Nuevo Med, is a Cuban-American wife who’s dumped callously by her handsome husband of seven years. In her distinctive voice, she tells of her slow, painful journey from the fog of denial into the light of forgiveness and indifference—in Erika’s words, from “please come back” to “to hell with him”, and finally to “I could care less”—and a kind of peace within herself. Along the way to self-knowledge and acceptance, she researches the part of the brain that controls a human’s emotions and discovers that the chemical reactions in the caudate nucleus center of the brain cause the euphoria of love, its addictive qualities, and the mental and physical pain of love’s loss. With her quick scientific mind, Erika experiments with a drug that can reduce her own pain and fill the “big black hole” in her heart/brain. Only then, she decides, can she truly heal and be happy again. Of course, she’s thinking like a scientist. What she soon learns is that other factors come into play when trying to close the wound of heartbreak.
Along the way, she meets two men who show her different aspects of her self; one is a painter who happens to speak my favorite line of dialogue in the book: “What is art, poetry and music but the transformation of an artist’s pain into a present for humanity?”
In this delightful, humorous but poignant story, Anjanette Delgado shows us the journey everyone must take to recover from love’s loss. And I couldn’t help but think of my second novel, HASTA LA VISTA, BABY, another story of heartbreak and healing. The same catalyst but two totally different stories. Heartbreak is an all too familiar story but with a zillion different journeys.
And now an interview with Donna.
Can you please tell us a little bit about the kinds of books you write and how your culture affects your craft?
My first two published books are romantic comedies with Latina heroines. OPERATION FAMILIA just won 2nd Place in the Romantic Comedy category for the Latino Books into Movies Award, sponsored by the Latino Book Festival. It's about a schoolteacher who's called home for an emergency; her grandmother wants her to rescue her Mexican cousins from a vicious drug cartel. I love to take serious issues and treat them in a lighthearted, satirical way. My second book, HASTA LA VISTA, BABY, is about a bitter divorce and how the worst day in Sonya's life turns out to be the best thing that could have happened. Although the title's not cast in stone, my third book is called BORN TO SING: THE LOVE STORY OF A LATINA OPERA SINGER. I had a wonderful time researching operas and operettas and the lives of divas. But it's basically a love story that spans 25 years.
How do you feel your books influence Latinas?
I'm not sure. The Latinas that I know who've read them have told me they've laughed and cried, all the while relating to the heroines completely. I guess that's quite a compliment!
What does being Latina mean to you?
Good question! I think being half Latina, half Anglita (my father was a blond, blue-eyed Texan) has enabled me to experience and enjoy both my Latino culture and family and my Anglo culture and family. I never had any problems relating to either one. My Latino family always called me "Blondie" because I took after my father; they teased me in a good-natured, affectionate way so I didn't mind. One of my Texas relatives called us "prune pickers"--but hey, he was a redneck and he also meant it affectionately. I think when cultures mix, you tend to get that kind of teasing. You learn to develop a thick hide and let stupid comments roll off you. Being bi cultural, I enjoyed especially the music and food from both cultures. I just wish I'd grown up bilingual. I envy those who are. It's a wonderful thing, to be a true bilingual.
What are some of your favorite Latina authors and why?
I like Anjanette Delgado and Margo Candela. They both write insightful, humorous stories and I love their blend of romance and comedy.
Thank you, Donna!